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Top 5 Sports Stories

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Happy Wednesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for August 3, 2011 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.

1. Quick Hits

  • Let me get this straight. NBA owners locked out the players, and now the owners have filed an unfair labor practices suit against the players. Got it.
  • Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina could expect a big fine and suspension after a confrontation with umpire Rob Drake last night in Milwaukee. After being called out on strikes, Molina bumped him and appeared to spit on him as well.
  • Mets ace Johan Santana is scratched from a rehab start. He may not return this season.
  • Gary Carter's daughter says his brain tumors are 80 percent better.
  • Saudi Arabia will replace Uganda at the Little League World Series. Uganda would have been the first African nation to quality but they ran into Visa problems concerning the ages of the players.

2. Another Point of View

Yes, I'm one of those media types who carps "you've signed a contract, fulfill your obligation." But I thought Osi Umenyiora of the Giants made a compelling argument. He has two years left on his contract and he wants a new one. He claims Giants management has broken their promises to him. That aside, he asked why are these contracts only iron-clad one way? He cited teammates Shaun O'Hara and Rich Seubert who were cut with time remaining on their deals. He wonders why running back Brandon Jacobs is asked to take a pay cut in the middle of his deal? Umenyiora said, "If you get injured, or they feel like you under-performed, they cut you without hesitation. But if you clearly outplay your contract, and ask for something to be done, you're a bad guy and not a team player. It's ridiculous." I still tend to feel that "a contract is a contract," but you can't deny he makes some fair points.

3. Mystery Solved

I know, after I talked about Rex Ryan's leg tattoo yesterday, you were dying to know what it means? Some of you thought the tat looked like Mike Tyson's face. Ryan himself said yesterday, "It's a mountain, some waves and some sharks." And then he posted this six-second video on the team's Facebook page. So there you have it. I'm sure this is the last we'll hear from Ryan... for at least a couple of minutes.

4. 66 Big Ones

Who needs the NBA? Having their players is just fine. Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant put on quite a show the other night at Harlem's famed Rucker Park. He scored a cool 66 points. Check out the video.

The best part is the crowd reaction. They treat him as if he's won the NBA championship. Which may be as close as anyone comes in the foreseeable future.

5. Oh Lucy!

This Saturday, the great Lucille Ball would have celebrated her 100th birthday. They haven't forgotten in her hometown of Jamestown, New York. In fact tonight, the Jamestown Jammers will wear special Lucy and Desi uniform jerseys, special hats too. (The hats, of course, are available in the team's gift shop.) As for the jersey, it's certainly unique. This could start a trend. How about Mo (Three Stooges) Howard's picture on the jersey of his hometown team, the Brooklyn Cyclones? Then again maybe sports teams don't want to align themselves too closely with slapstick antics. Then again, if you can make a few bucks...

Happy Birthday: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. 34.
Bonus Birthday: Martha Stewart. 70.

Today in Sports: The great Jesse Owens won his first gold medal (100 meters) at the Olympics in Berlin. (Featured in my New York Times best-selling kids book The Greatest Moments in Sports.) He won three more golds before the games were over. 75 years ago today. 1936.
Bonus Event: The Mickey Mouse watch hit the market for $2.75. 1933.

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